|Tornado in Venice|
At the San Pietro stop, it was sunny. About a minute or two later, as we made our way to Certosa, hail started falling. By the time we rounded the bend to Sant' Elena, we were smack in the middle of a tornado. It takes nine minutes to get to Sant' Elena from San Pietro. That is a sudden change of weather.
At first, I was oblivious. I had lugged my carrello down the steps and was sitting outside with my back facing forward, so I couldn't see the lagoon. The boat stopped at Sant' Elena. Then it did not move. A man started hollering for everyone to get off. At first, I thought he was a tour guide yelling at his group. His voice became very serious. "Get off NOW. Get off NOW. Everyone get off the boat RIGHT NOW! Tromba d'aria! Tromba d'aria! TORNADO!!!"
|Tornado in Venice|
My carrello got jammed by some steel panels on the floor of the boat. "Aiuto! Help!" I hollered. But everyone was galloping off the boat. Somehow I unwedged the carrello and lugged it up the steps. There was no way all my documents, and my computer -- containing a project I have been working on for several years to bring down the Evil Empire -- were going to end up in the Land of Oz.
Most of the people were off the boat and into the vaporetto stop. But as I got to the sliding gate at the top of the boat, the tornado came right down on top of us. There was a woman in front of me, grabbing onto the railing. I wrapped my arm around her, and grabbed hold of the railing, my other hand clutching the carrello. An ACTV employee squatted down on the floor of the boat, gripping onto the railing. My hair whipped around my face. Rain splattered. My umbrella got sucked up and disappeared. The wind was so powerful, it was hard to keep a grip. I thought: "This is probably a life or death situation!" WE COULD NOT MOVE OFF THE BOAT because the wind was so strong. So we held on tight and rode it out. A man inside the Sant' Elena vaporetto stop, young and fit, extended a hand to the woman in front of me, like God reaching out to Michelangelo in a tempest, but the distance was too great and the wind was too strong. Finally, he managed to grasp the woman's hand, and hauled her off the boat. Then he grabbed my hand, and yanked me, and my carrello, off, too.
Later on in the day, I went back down past Sant' Elena, and saw that the trees had been knocked down, boats turned over; it was a disaster.
Tornado strikes Venice, narrowly misses center
Dozens of boats overturned, serious crop damage12 June, 19:39
(ANSA) - Venice, June 12 - A dramatic funnel cloud swept over Venice on Tuesday and narrowly missed the center of town, striking instead the outskirts and uprooting trees and overturning dozens of boats.
Witnesses first reported the dark waterspout approaching from Lido island at the extreme east end of the lagoon before encroaching closer to the historic center.
The twister brought down a wall at the Venezia soccer stadium, damaged the Morosini naval academy and ruined a rowing clubhouse.
Click to read the ANSA report.
Here is the link to the Venetian Cat - Venice Blog follow-up to this story:
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog